United in Christ’s Love – Ecumenical Sunday
Rev Issac P Kurien
St Johns MTC NY
11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.The context of the passage is the farewell discourse and closing prayer of Jesus Christ. We can see two images of Jesus’ relationship to his disciples. These two imageries, branches and friends, involve privileges as well as responsibilities. Branches denote the privilege of sharing in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and the responsibility is to abide in His love. As friends, the privilege is to know the will of God and the responsibility is to obey the will of God.
1. Abiding: Promises complete Joy - v. 11
The main focus of Jesus is the incomparable joy to be shared and that will fill our lives. John 14:27 says about the peace that Jesus shared with us. It is not like the peace that the world gives instead it is the peace that God gives. John. 15:9 says about the love that the Father has shared through His son. And here Jesus says we in turn are able to share in that love through Him. However to experience the peace, love and joy, we have to abide in Him. When we abide in Jesus we will bear fruit for His glory as mentioned in Galatians 5:22, fruit of the Spirit. In the modern world joy is manipulated as celebration and rejoicing as enjoyment- one is selfish and the other is collective. The mission of Jesus in this world is to give joy to the underprivileged and to those who mourn. It is to be found in abiding in Christ.
2. Abiding: Promises the friendship - v.15
Here Jesus continues to tell that abiding in Him produces sacrificial love, love towards your friend. “13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. Jesus says that when we become the friend of Jesus, He will share the will of God. That is the privilege that the Father offers through His son. It is the privilege that we, whom He calls friends, will in turn receive if we abide in Him. Abraham has been called a friend- 2 Chr. 20:7. However being a friend demands certain things. It demands us to obey the commands of God (v.14), the most pertinent of which is to love one another as Jesus has loved us. When we become His friends we have the privilege of prayer.
As we are observing this Sunday as Ecumenical Sunday, we are to keep in mind that we are one in Christ abiding as different branches. The joy of the Son will be complete when we love one another and abide in His love.
PRAYERLord, Thank You for the promise of complete joy and everlasting friendship in Thy presence. Help us to experience them through our obedience.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:" Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! " Psalms 133:1